The Chinese Communist Party arrested a Chinese-born Australian journalist for China Global Television Network on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas.
The arrest of Cheng Lei, who served as an anchor for the state-run media outlet since 20212, starts an official criminal investigation and comes six months after she was detained.
The charges could result in life in prison or the death penalty, prompting concerns from Australian leadership.
“The Australian government has raised its serious concerns about Ms. Cheng’s detention regularly at senior levels, including about her welfare and conditions of detention,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.
“We hope that Australia will earnestly respect China’s judicial sovereignty and refrain from interfering in China’s law-based handling of cases in any way,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin cautioned at a daily briefing.